Ron Prosor, a well respected veteran in Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, began his tenure as Ambassador of Israel to the United Nations last Thursday, knowing clearly that September will bring an inevitable heavy defeat. The UN General Assembly is expected to grant recognition to Palestine as an independent state in three months time, a nightmare scenario from Israel's point of view, and nothing can alter this, except for agreement from the Palestinians to shelve or delay the initiative. The chances of this happening are getting smaller every day in the absence of flexibility in Jerusalem and Ramallah.
In an interview with "Globes," Prosor spoke about the anticipated UN vote in September on recognizing a Palestinian state.
What actually is the problem with the UN recognizing a Palestinian state? Prime Minister Netanyahu already stated that he supports the creation of one.
Prosor: "The problem is that we're talking about a unilateral action not based on negotiations with Israel. I am convinced that a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state would lead to violence. No General Assembly resolution will make a difference on the ground without Israel's consent."
Preventing a unanimous resolution
Prosor refused to give up and said "There is a good chance that we will be able to form a moral minority" among UN members, to oppose a resolution recognizing a Palestinian state. Prosor said that this would send a message to the world that there are many countries, though not a majority, that reject the approach that a unilateral step by the Palestinians can bring about peace. "It is important that the resolution not be unanimous, and this is definitely attainable," he said.
How many countries do you think Israel will be able to recruit to vote against recognizing a Palestinian state?
Prosor: "The prime minister talks about 30 countries, and I think this forecast is realistic."
Does this mean that you are going to concentrate on convincing western countries?
Prosor: "I didn't say that. We are not giving up on any country. We are currently mapping out the various countries. We are deciding which to approach, and how to approach them. There are 192 member nations in the UN. We are not giving up on Latin American countries, the Caribbean, or countries along the Pacific Ocean coastline and Asia."
Which Latin American countries will vote with Israel?
Prosor: "Mexico, for example, will probably join us."
Are you aware of the existence of a built-in majority against Israel?
"There is an automatic majority against us," Prosor said. "There are countries we won't be able to convince. This automatic majority could pass a resolution in the General Assembly that the sun will rise at midnight."
Does that mean that you question the UN's value?
Prosor: "Definitely not. We enter each battle at the UN with an inferior numerical status, however each battle is worth fighting and we must continue working within the organization. We must not forget that we have reached achievements in the past. For example, when I was Director General at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the UN agreed to observe Holocaust Remembrance Day. Besides, everyone is talking about the General Assembly where the vote of a small country is equal to the US vote. They aren't talking about the Security Council, which is where most of the important resolutions are passed, and where the US has utilized its veto power more than once."
The Palestinians are not connected to reality?
"I think that the Palestinians are not connected to reality. The drama of the Assembly's resolution will raise their expectations, and that is dangerous."
How would you describe your main mission at the UN?
Prosor: "Preventing the de-legitimization and the demonization of Israel that is taking place at the UN, as well around the world. These are developments that are slowly entering the mainstream of global parlance. We must uproot them."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on June 21, 2011
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